A new piece of legislation being considered in Texas would ban the state’s public colleges and universities from embracing “diversity, equity, and inclusion” ideology on campus.
State Rep. Carl Tepper (R) introduced a bill Friday that would direct every public institution of higher learning to “adopt a policy detailing students’ rights and responsibilities regarding expressive activities at the institution.”
TX legislators introduced a bill to abolish DEI … "diversity, equity, and inclusion" in the state university system.
Abolish or lose state funding. https://t.co/EyEewXrfbT
— Cara TXZEAL (@Cara_TXZEAL) December 16, 2022
Tepper represents the 84th state House district in the Lubbock metropolitan area.
The law would require each school’s policy to include an institutional commitment to “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity.”
The language of the proposed law also expressly prohibits all public institutions from providing for the “funding, promotion, sponsorship, or support of any office of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
It also declares that no school may create or permit “any office that funds, promotes, or supports an initiative or formulation of diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond what is necessary to uphold the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
The proposed statute also bans the endorsement, dissuasion, or interference with “any lifestyle, race, sex, religion, or culture.”
The bill states that its legislative purpose is to promote the responsibility of public colleges and universities to “foster a diversity of viewpoints” and “maintain political, social, and cultural neutrality.”
The law would create a right for any individual to bring a civil action in any court with jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief against an institution that violates the law. Injunctive relief would include a court order compelling a school to comply with the law.
Continued violations could result in contempt proceedings against officials who violate an order and the loss of state funding for departments or entire schools.
A successful lawsuit would also mandate that a judge award “reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs” to the person who brings the case forward. A school that is ordered to pay those expenses must take the needed money from the “budget of the office of the chief executive officer of the institution or the institution’s system, as applicable.”